My Dear Parishioners,
This week we welcome Fr. Raju Pilla to speak to our parish about the Missions in his home diocese of Trivandrum, India. Fr. Raju is a friend of mine. He has been the chaplain at St. Mary Hospital for a long time and he also helped out at St. Michael the Archangel in Levittown, where I was an assistant in 1993. I am very happy to host him now that I am pastor.
I went on his home diocese’s website and found this description of the people that make up that church.
The Archdiocese of Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) is one of the biggest dioceses of Kerala having a Catholic population of nearly 250,000 people, even after the bifurcation of the Diocese of Neyyattinkara a few years ago.
As much as 90 percent of the faithful in our Diocese of Trivandrum hails from the community of fisher folk. This community as a whole is impoverished and is classified by the Government itself as one of the backward communities. In social stratification, fishermen find their place at the lowest rank of the ladder of social setup.
These people may be poor in material resources. But they are rich in faith. 450 years ago, St. Francis Xavier was walking along this sea-coast preaching the Gospel. In one of his letters addressed to St. Ignatious, St. Francis Xavier writes about this people as follows: “This region is utterly barren and poverty – stricken. Since I came here, I have had no rest. I have been going from village to village. The children would not let me stay at my office or eat or rest till I had taught them some prayer. It was then that I really began to feel that such is the kingdom of heaven. I started to teach them catechism and I saw immediately that they were very intelligent.”
It is time to start thinking about inviting someone to our RCIA program. The RCIA stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It is the process by which an adult becomes a member of the Catholic Faith. Full Initiation into our faith is marked by the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, and Confirmation. The RCIA is a formation and instruction program to help them learn about and experience a deeper faith.
I am very grateful to all those who have been members of the team over the years, they have provided a valuable and much needed service to our parish.
But we need more people who are willing to learn, teach and support those interested. You do not need to be a professional teacher or have a degree in theology, you simply need to be willing to follow a lesson and share your own experience. Those who have been involved have commented that their own faith has grown and developed as a result of being involved.
This year I am excited that we will be using some of the excellent resources on the FORMED website. If you are already fully initiated, you might consider coming to a couple of sessions as a Catholic refresher course. We had a very positive response to our Bible Study class. I have previewed the resources and they are inspiring and exciting. I am asking that you please consider joining our team. Even if you only feel like you can participate in two or three sessions, it will help the overall program, and expose our candidates and catechumens to more people and more experiences. Our sessions are weekly starting in the fall. The meetings are generally an hour, to an hour and a half. Please contact me if you are interested.
Our Night of Inquiry for those interested in becoming fully initiated in our church will be Wed. Sept. 20, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. Please call the rectory to register.
God Bless you.